When we trigger somebody’s I’m-not-good-enough wound, they may attack us. We don’t have to attack back. Love doesn’t feel threatened; and we don’t have to feel threatened, either. We can be an example of love, and coming to peace and community even in the face of the inevitable chaos created by somebody else’s fear-based defensiveness. That said, sometimes being an example of love means detaching yourself from abuse, while learning what you can from the experience.
Let’s say your partner learned to be stoic (rather than express his emotions) in order to win his father’s acceptance. It was a matter of survival! Even years later, simply asking your partner what he’s feeling may trigger his wound enough for him to attack you. If you understand that, you can respond lovingly, rather than hit back. But if your loving response meets with repeated abuse, you don’t have to hang around for it. You can trust love to teach him how to shed his security blanket and heal his wounds, when he’s ready. You can be part of that process, without sticking around for it to play out.
We’re all in Love School. And shedding the defensive armor to heal our wounds is the work of a lifetime.